The key to identifying a great arcade was not the lights, Hobo knew. People always thought about the lights, but it wasn’t the lights. It wasn’t even the sounds. The key to identifying a great arcade was the smell.
Ozone from overheating electrics, warm plastic, old sweat, and chips.
A great arcade, a truly great arcade, acquired all of those smells over a period of time. They would embed themselves in the walls, the ceiling, the sticky carpeted floors. They became part of the place, even more so than the bricks and mortar, a second skin. They clung like a mist, so that when someone walked in it felt like they were passing from one world into another, that they were walking through a fog into a new reality.
And, if it was a truly great arcade… then that was true.